You can take an express bus from Watsonville to Santa Cruz without traveling a whole lot longer than it takes by car—so long as you travel after the morning peak commute hours. If you hop on a 91X bus at Main Street and Green Valley Road, you can get to Cabrillo College in 18 minutes and the County Building in Santa Cruz in 36 minutes.
What if buses could be made faster than car travel during peak congestion periods? That’s exactly what happens in places like Minneapolis, Cleveland and Atlanta, where a bus-only lane on the shoulder of the highway allows buses to make good travel time in spite of highway congestion.
Unfortunately, our Regional Transportation Commission is missing an opportunity to build bus-only lanes. Instead the RTC plans to build auxiliary lanes (exit only lanes) between Santa Cruz and Watsonville. The Caltrans EIR found that these auxiliary lanes “would result in very slight improvement in traffic congestion compared to the No Build Alternative.” The RTC’s plan is for buses to operate in the auxiliary lanes, where they will be stuck in commute traffic.
It’s not too late for Watsonville residents to demand real alternatives to being stuck in Highway 1 traffic—not ineffective solutions like auxiliary lanes.